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General Automation – Amtico, Coventry – 2014

Flooring Bevelling Plant Upgrade

The Project

Amtico, a popular UK luxury flooring manufacturer, tasked UCS with developing and constructing an upgrade to a control system for an existing flooring bevelling plant. The existing machine utilised inverter-controlled motion, and multiple PLC systems.

The client required an upgrade that would minimise poor quality production runs, providing better overall equipment efficiency.

UCS surveyed the machine, to understand the operation and what was required for the project. The details of the survey are shown in Understanding the Process.

Surveying the Project:

From the survey, several concerns were raised that would need to be dealt with for the finished system

  • Could servos be correctly utilised on this mechanical system correctly?
  • Would a 3mm thick tile be detected on a black background without false triggers?
  • Could the manufacturing speed be maintained or improved due to the mechanicals?
  • Could the PLC signals be replicated for the change in the drive design?

 

The project had several new processes for UCS, the servo drive system had never been implemented this way before and the tile detection system had never been utilised by UCS.

 

During the project, several trials were performed within the UCS workshop, firstly the servo control system was fully tested (less the mechanicals), the expected timing and motion was achieved and considered a good first-time success. The tile detection system was also experimented with, a sensor was chosen after significant research and implemented in the workshop. A few issues were identified with the chosen sensor, but corrections within the software allowed a 100% success rate for tile detection.

 

In 2014, UCS Automation constructed and tested the new control system within the workshop and delivered it to site, followed by the installation and commissioning. After a five-day commissioning period the machine was put into full production. The client was very happy with the result and has commissioned UCS for several upgrade projects across the site since the installation.

Our Services

We provided the following services for this project:

  • Electrical AutoCAD design drawings. See our Design page
  • Control Panel Manufacturer. See our Manufacture page
  • PLC & HMI Software design. See our Software Design page
  • Disconnection and removal of the existing mechanical system
  • Installation, Testing and Commissioning of the system. See our Installation and Commissioning pages

Control System:

Control of the entire system was handled by Rockwell Automation’s Allen Bradley line of PLCs. A CompactLogix L61 PLC, Industrial PC operator interface, Kinetix 6000 servo drives and PowerFlex Inverters were utilised on this project. The interconnections between the control equipment were handled via Ethernet for the PLC communications and SERCOS for the servo control, minimising system wiring requirements.

The Industrial PC operator interface was a 19” colour screen, allowing the operator to control the beveller independently of the rest of the process and make process changes as required.

Understanding the Process:

As part of the process UCS Automation needed to learn and fully understand the operation of the final machine to develop the control panel and software required to operate it. The line was grouped into several, smaller functions, for the development process.

A) Inverter conveyors:

The system has a number of conveyors that have no timing or positioning requirements, these are all inverter driven, these functions can retain inverter control. No issues apparent.

B) Bevelling drives:

High speed drive units for cutting bevel,

C) Servo conveyors:

Timing is required for these type conveyors, specific position data required for correct product alignment, SERCOS controlled, no motion concerns of these. Constant speed can be maintained, even with resistance from bevelling drive cutters, resulting is better/more consistent finish.

D) Servo kickers:

Position controlled kickers, need to push product into correct position for processes to align and return accurately for next product.

 

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